On Kickstarter pens and notebooks.

I have written about this before, but like many other things I just mentioned it in passing without going that much into it.

I see interesting projects on kickstarter and alike more or less every week. Kickstarter projects and limited edition products are two things I’m not fund of.

I don’t mind limited edition stuff as long as the only difference is the aesthetic.

I’m not a collector, I’m a user. That means that if I loose or break something I love – I’ll get another of the same model. The same goes for notebooks. I buy more of the same most of the time.

Some people love to pledge and make new and interesting projects happen, and I get it. I’m not that interesting most of the time. The exception is companies that use kickstarter to get a company started. And not just make a few of “X”.

My interest in what comes out of Kickstarter is when they are done with that phase and becomes a real company. Not many of them get that far. But if they make something good, I’ll be more than happy to support them by buying their product when they come that far.

'Midori Travelers Notebook

There are a few stationary products, but not that many though, that I whole heartedly believe everyone should check out. The Midori Travelers Notebook is without doubt one of them. I’m going to get to why in a moment. But let me explain what it is first.

A Midori Travelers Notebook consists of three parts:

  • The Cover
  • Refills
  • Accessories.

You can get two different covers from Midori, one regular sized and one passport sized. There are also a whole community of unofficial third party covers available. So there should be something that fits more or less every aesthetic and practical preference.

The best thing about the MTN in my opinion is the wide variety of refills. You have all the usual stuff: lined, grid and blank. But can also get different calendar refills, and special refills for drawing(heavier paper), thinner paper(if you want more pages per refills) or kraft paper for weirdos and scrapbookers.

You can fit up to six refills in the official cover, and there are unofficial covers that can fit even more.

Accessories for the Midori Travelers Notebook is world for itself. I personally only use one: a pen holder, but I have been thinking about adding a second one. There are plenty of official and unofficial accessories that you can attach to the cover or fit inside it. Everything from my beloved pen holder, to zip pockets, credit card holders, and much much more.

Why is it so great? You can put together a set of refills and accessories that fits exactly what you need, and you can just change the setup when your needs change.

My big problem with all the notebooks I have had before is that I want lined paper 99% of the time, to write long form or to manage tasks and stuff like that, but there are times when I want a blank page. Not that often, but it happens. I solved this problem in my Midori Travelers Notebook by having five lined notebooks, and one blank one at the end.

Another big problem for me in the past, that the MTN solves is the many notebooks problem. I like to have one for journaling, one for tasks, one for miscellaneous, one for studying and one for work. The many notebooks problem is divided in two: you have the two small or too large problem: Field Notes – too small; regular notebook – too heavy and too large(you don’t have enough room in your bag, and you always have many pages left when you don’t need it anymore) & you need to remember to bring them all.

The way this is solved by using a MTN is simple: you have all your different notebooks in one cover, as long as you remember your cover, you remember all your notebooks. And the number of pages is note too small, where you feel like you always need to carry 2 or 3 extras just in case you want to write a lot. While at the same time small enough that you feel like you can use a whole notebook for a project.

A third problem I often face is that what I need or want changes. Most notebooks don’t adept well to change. If I suddenly need a grid for some weird reason? Well, then I just order a few grid refills and start using them. Some regular notebooks have tried to combine blank and lined, or blank and grid paper before. I like the idea of having more than one page formatting in the same package. But I think the way they did it was wrong. It is impossible to find a configuration that works for everyone. I probably use one or two blank pages for every ten lined pages I write. To have them in the same refill or notebook is a mistake. But you can do a lot of interesting things, when you have the option of combining different refills in a cover. If you mostly write on lined paper but sometimes need a blank page, and sometimes need a grid? Just fill 4 slots with lined, and one blank and one grid.

To summarise, you should get one because you can customise everything from the accessories to the combination of refills to something that fits your need right now; and you can change it to what ever your needs are tomorrow without any problems at all. You are only limited by the FedEx delivery time and the number of refills you can fit in the cover.

Lefties and fountain pens.

I’m not sure how many articles I read about being left handed and using a fountain pen when I started to get interested. Some of them were good, and a very few excellent ones have come up since then. But I have always missed a good guide. This is my crack at providing it.

People that write with their right hand are lucky enough to pull their hand away from what they write, this gives them the advantage of having the time they use to write a whole line for the ink to dry. That combined with being the majority seems like a pretty sweet deal.

Being left handed can be difficult for a number of reasons. Writing on a blackboard or whiteboard is very difficult, you have three options: smudge what you write as you go, learn to under or over write or try to write without stabilising your arm.

My biggest annoyance with most of the articles about using fountain pens left handed is that most of them take the “just use this and this” route.

Let me start with the problem left handed writers meet when they try to write with either a fountain pen or any “wet” pen: you start writing and you mess it up by dragging your hand over it.

There are two different ways you can solve this problem, either by limiting the time what you write with takes to dry or by learning a few techniques. The techniques takes a while to get a handle on, you don’t need to learn them, but I recommend it because there are always situations where you need them. They are called over and under writing. The basic principle is that you place your hand in a angle where it instead of dragging over your current line drag either above or below it. I’m not very good at either, but I know how to do both. I prefer overwriting, but underwriting is a must if you have to write on a blackboard or a whiteboard.

Dry time. There are a few factors that plays a role in how long time it take for what you write or draw to dry:

  • Paper: some kinds of paper absorb the ink faster than others. This is a very complicated topic. I usually go after the rule that thick paper in general absorb ink faster, but there are exceptions, like Rhodia’s paper. Most good paper give you a short dry time, without bleed through or feathering. While cheap thick paper can give you should dry time, but often also a lot of feathering and some bleed through. Going for a paper that gives you a minimal dry time is something I think is a very good idea in the beginning.
  • Ink: some inks dry faster than others, and there are a lot of reasons for it. Some brands are made to have very short dry time, some inks have a okay dry time, while some inks have a dry time that makes them almost unusable for left handed writers. Both Goulet and JetPens tell you on the product page if it is a fast drying ink. Going for a ink that dries fast is useful in the beginning. But you should not be discouraged to stay away from a ink just because it has a little bit longer dry time. What is a struggle in a beginning is not a problem at all once you learn to handle it.
  • Pen & Nib. Some fountain pens are wetter than others, this means that it lays down more ink on the page. One prime example of this is the Lamy 2000. The same goes for nibs, thinner nib means less ink. I’m not a huge fan of fine nibs. I love to write with a very wet and broad nib, because of how smooth the writing process, and how my writing looks. While others I know prefer a rougher nib because it lets them control their writing more. Go for the kind of nib and line width you prefer, but remember, the dry time is considerably shorter if you go for a finer nib because it puts way less ink on the page.

Before you get discouraged. You can probably learn how to write without smudging any kind of ink with any kind of pen and nib on any type of paper in not too long if you put your mind to it. The trick is to learn how to under and over writing. There are of course combinations that are more tricky than others, for example a very slow drying ink on the paper Rhdoia uses.

I have some very precise advice when it comes down to what to buy at not to buy, at least in the beginning.

First of all, stay away from the Lamy Safari and any Lamy and other pen that have a moulded grip section. They are made to learn right handed writers how to properly hold their pen. I have one, and I never use it for the reason that it is a pain in the ass to find a way to hold it that is comfortable.

Go for a fast drying ink in the beginning. My advice is to go for the Noodlers Bernanke black or blue is a excellent choice. It dries more or less right away on most paper that aren’t known for long dry time, and the only times I smudged with it was when I was trying to do just that.

Paper is a topic I’m not going to cover to a large extent here. I used to just go to a local book store and pick up anything with thick paper in the beginning, and that usually gave me paper that gave me either immediate dry time, or paper that dried fast enough for me to only smudge here and there. Leuchtturm1917, Midori Travelers Notebook refills and Field Notes have all given me very fast dry time.

I have one neat trick when it comes to notebooks. I have become a huge fan of narrow notebooks over the years. The two notebooks I used to most compared to when I started to use them are Field Notes and Midori Travelers Notebook. The thing that is great about a narrow notebook, is that you can learn how to write without moving your hand much. And that limits smudging a lot. The other thing that I think is great about narrow notebook is that you can, if you want to limit how much space and paper you waste. A empty line in a MTN refill is around half the amount of paper you waste in a regular A4 sized notebook.

How to get started? Just order a pen, the TWSBI Eco or Pilot Metropolitan are good choices and remember to get a converter to the Metropolitan so that you can use ink from a bottle. Get a bottle of Bernanke blue or black, I prefer the black. And just start writing a lot with it. There will be some smudging in the beginning, it is like that for everyone, especially lefties. The important thing is to try to learn how to under and over write.

I remember that I got two bottles of ink when I got my Lamy 2000, one Bernanke Black and one with the Lamy black ink. The latter was absolutely useless for me in the beginning. But the Noodler Bernanke had such a short dry time that I almost never smudged anything, and I had learned the proper technique by the time that bottle was empty. I don’t even think much about dry time and so on these days.

Your first fountain pen.

I have reviewed the three fountain pens that I personally consider to be the best beginner fountain pens. Which one you should get is a difficult question. But I’m going to give some short but straight to the point on why you want it, or don’t want it.

  • Go for the TWSBI Eco if you aren’t afraid of buying ink in bottles.
  • Go for the Pilot Metropolitan if you want something good and cheap as a starting point.
  • Go for the Lamy Safari if you want to test different nibs to figure out what you prefer.

The best buy of the three is in my opinion the TWSBI Eco, while the Pilot Metropolitan is the cheapest place to start, and the Lamy Safari is the thing you want, if you want to experiment; like you did in college.


There used to be two pens that where the beginner fountain pen; the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan. Made by two great companies. And Lamy Safari was the beginner fountain pen before that.

Both of them are highly compromised pens, but most people forgive that when it comes to the Metropolitan because it is much cheaper than the Safari. You can get a TWSBI Eco for the same price, and I would recommend that if you don’t have any problems with buying bottled ink.

I ordered my Lamy Safari a week after I got my first fountain pen: the Pilot Metropolitan. My relationship with this pen is a love-hate one – at the same time. The thing I love about it is how “goofy” it looks. It is this weird plastic thing. And you have a wide variety of colours and styles to chose from. You have a lot more nibs to pick from, than the Metropolitan, and you can just get a pack of all the different Lamy nibs and test out what you prefer. It is a fantastic pen for this exact reason.

I think it is a little bit more expensive than it should be. But my main issue with the pen is the grip section. This is not a Safari problem, but a problem I have with all the cheaper Lamy pens. They have formed the grip to match how you are supposed to hold the pen, and that is fine, by itself, and very useful for when you learn how to write. But, that only works well for right handed people. Most left handed writers like myself, just ignore it and hold it as they please. It is possible, and it works okay. But it has always annoyed the living shit out of me.

Lamy nibs are still to this day the best I have ever used. And I would without doubt carry a few of these if they fixed the damn grip section.

'Ink Review

Tsuki-yo is my third Iroshizuku ink, and it will without doubt not be my last.

The thing I love about Iroshizuku inks is how consistent they are. I know more or less how the dry time will be, how it is to write with them, and how they perform. This makes it much easier to find a new ink. I just need to find a colour I like.

Tsuki-yo is my first blue ink. The reason I have ignored blue inks for so long is that is my distaste for what I call “bic blue”. This is the colour that you get in most cheap ball point pens, or in the cartridge you get in the box when you buy a Pilot Metropolitan or Lamy Safari.

One of my goals this year was to explore more ink colour than what I have done in the past. And a natural step in this direction is to try more blues.

I have used Tsuki-yo with all of my pens. It delivers a darker, but still not muddy blue colour when I use it with a wetter pen, like my Lamy 2000. And it delivers a lighter but not washed out colour when I use it with one of my dryer pens.

My experience this far with the Iroshizuku line of inks is that how they behave with wet versus dry nibs are very consistent. Wet nib – darker colour without being muddy; dry nib – lighter colour without being washed out.

How I pick inks.

Inks are usually available both as a sample, and in either a small or large bottle; some brands are available in both; and others give you a collection of three different inks in a smaller bottle in a nice package.

I have never bought a sample or anything but the largest bottle available.

This is my process every single time I am going to buy a new bottle of ink. I have a text file with all the different inks I have seen, that I haven’t bought before, that I think looks interesting. When I’m going to order something I usually go for something I know I liked, and have used before, or I go for something new.

The first thing I do is to open my text file, and open every single link, and look around until I decide on a colour. Then I close everything except the inks that match that colour. And finally I eliminate one by one until I have two or three options left.

Then I move into the research stage. I start by looking at the writing samples at both Goulet and JetPens, before I read every single review I can find. What I am looking for is to get an overview of how the ink is to use, and how it looks with different pens. Because I use thin and wide nibs; wet and dry. Most inks will look different in the different scenarios.

My goal is to know as much as I can about it, before I order. It isn’t unusual for me to use at least an hour to figure out if I want to order a ink or not.

The result is that I have never bought a bottle of ink that I was unhappy with. I have owned a bottle of ink I wasn’t happy with, a bottle of black Lamy ink. The story behind that is that I got it for free when I bought my Lamy 2000, so it doesn’t count.

'Load out

I’m going to change the focus of these monthly load out posts a little bit. They are about what I use, but I’m going to put a stronger emphasis on the details of how I use them as well.

I still use the same pens that I have been using lately:

  • Lamy 2000: medium nib
  • TWSBI Eco: 1.1 stub
  • TWSBI 580AL: medium nib
  • Pilot Metropolitan: medium nib.

All of them have been inked up with Lamy Black ink until a few days ago. I had a little bit left of a bottle, and decided to just use it up, before I used anything else. It’s too bad to throw away good ink, even though I don’t like that much. All of my pens are being inked up with my first blue ink – Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo – as they run out of ink. Both my Lamy 2000 and my TWSBI Eco have been inked up with it, and I love it.

I’m particular about almost everything, and ink colours is without doubt one of them. I have said this many times before, and I’m going to do it again: a ink need to have either excellent colours or excellent dry time. This is one of the reasons I don’t like the Lamy black ink. I can talk until the cows come home about my distaste for mediocre inks. This is about blue inks.

The reason I have kept away from blue inks for over three years is that I don’t like the typical blue ink you find in most regular pens, and the cartridge you get with most fountain pens. It looks way too light, and the first thing I think when I see it is: that is what you get from the pen at the office with your company logo on it.

I guess it all comes down to my preference for inks that are darker. Not just for blue inks, but almost any colour. But not too dark, it still need to look blue if it is blue or green if it is green; the exception is black inks, the blacker the better.

I’m going to do a proper review of the Tsuki-yo in a few weeks.

There are some pretty big changes this month. Not only have I extended my colour palette away from black and the occasional green to blue, but I have also made some drastic changes to my notebook setup. I don’t use Field Notes anymore.

Let me explain. I have been a big fan of them for a long time, and they have been something I carried everywhere from May 2013 until a few weeks ago. You can read more about me and Field Notes here.

This is a part of a lager project I have going on, where I am trying to move everything I can over to my beloved Midori Travelers Notebook. I have six refills in it. Five lined, and one blank. I have two for journaling(one of them are full), one for tasks, and I use the blank one for sketching(when I like to pretend that I know how to draw, or making UI mockups at work) and testing inks.

Why did I do this?

  • I’m trying to carry and use fewer notebooks, because I prefer to carry one less thing if I can without loosing something essential. And this brings me down to two: MTN & Hobonichi Planner.
  • The MTN refills are a little bit larger, which makes it easier to combine small projects on a single page, and map out larger projects on a single one.
  • The paper works much better with fountain pens. The dry time is a little bit slower, but still pretty good.

My favourite benefit of doing this is that it takes much less time to browse through the notebook to get an overview. There are advantages to the smaller size, but it all depends on if they provide you something on the other side.

What does this mean for the Hobonichi Planner? Well, it doesn’t mean anything before the end of the year. But I will, as I usually do, evaluate then, what I’m going to use for the next year. It would be nice to also have my calendar in my Travelers Notebook. But I have two concerns, about the MTN calendar refills:

  • I have some very specific needs when it comes to layout: a full page per day, and a page for monthly goals between each month.
  • All of the refills I have seen are generic, and I prefer those who are made for a specific year. It isn’t a deal breaker, I just prefer to not have to deal with filling in all of the dates myself.

This is the biggest change, since I started using fountain pens. I think MTN is a must buy for almost everyone, because it is so easy to put together a combination of refills and accessories that fits what you need. You could do the same thing with different notebooks, but having it all in one package makes it much more convenient; it is so easy to forget one of them if you carry multiple notebooks. Everything I need, including a pen, is in one thing, and that makes the MTN worth every single penny.

Links of the Week.

I have gone back and forth, on if I should continue to link as I have been doing it, or move over to a single post with a list of links. There are pro and cons with both. There are two reasons I’m switching: First of all, it takes much less time to write a list than individual posts. And secondly, I can link to more stuff and be more free to only add commentary when I feel like it. The format also gives me an opportunity to comment on larger trends in any given week.

  • Gourmet Pens: Review: Diplomat Excellence A Evergreen GT Fountain. Gold isn’t really my thing. But there is a few pens with gold colouring that peeks my interest from time to time. This is one of them. It have to be done in a classy way, without being to “bling” or too “grandad”.
  • The Gentleman Stationer: Pen Review: TWSBI Eco. Another great review of one of my favourite pens. Everyone should have at least one of them.
  • The Well-Appointed Desk: Review of Leuhtturm 1917 Sketchbook. I’m a huge fan of Leuhtturm. They are very good at walking the line between minimal bleed through while maintaining short dry time. And they are also very good at giving people a good option to the core of Moleskine’s offering. This notebook looks like a very good option for anyone that either are sketching, want thicker paper or want a better option to their Moleskine Sketchbook.

On notebooks.

People buy different notebooks for many different reasons, but most of it can be boiled down to the following: use case, paper properties, how it looks and the format.

How a notebook looks is very important for some people, while others think it is less important. I personally prefer to either use a cover like the Midori Travelers Notebook or to go for a classic design like Leuchtturm1917 or Field Notes. While others go for something with something fancy with a lot of colour or even a themed notebook. Some people even put stickers on them. It can be, like everything else, a way to express to people who you are.

The pens and inks you are going to use with the notebook is a very important factor when it comes to what kind of paper you want. It is both a question of aesthetics and practicality. It looks horrible when the ink bleeds through from the two previous pages and your writing feathers like crazy. The kind of dry time you can tolerate is also an vary important factor.

The format is probably the most important part of a notebook. It is both the size and dimensions of it; but also how the pages are designed. You have the three classic layouts: grids, lines and blank; I know there are many different kinds of grids: boxes, dots etc, which you prefer is up to you; but they are more or less the same thing. This is closely related to the use case.

A use case is the thing that combines the three previous parts together. How a notebook looks might be important depending on where you are going to use it. A classic Leuchtturm1917 is probably a better fit in an office than some crazy porn themed Moleskine copy. What you are going to use it for is very important when you try to decide what kind of layout and format you want. Something you only use at your desk will probably be very different from something you carry around everywhere. For example, I mostly use A4 notepads at work, while my Midori Travelers Notebook is the notebook I bring everywhere.

How the page looks is important for a number of reasons. You probably want something very specific if you are going to use it as a planner; or anything else that is tied to a specific use case. While other times you want something more generic. Some people prefer a blank page because then they feel like they can do what ever they want with the page; and others prefer it because it looks better. Others prefer a lined page; like myself; it is more convenient when you only write, and it wastes much less space than a blank page. Grids is a very interesting layout, most people I know, that prefer them, do so because they get the flexibility of a blank page, with the infrastructure of a lined page.

What is it that makes a notebook useful or not? There are two factors that play a very important role for me. It have to either be portable(pocket sized, Midori Traveler Notebook sized or A5 sized) or A4 if it is something I’m just going to leave at my desk. And then you have the most important thing. How long does it take any of the inks I have in rotation to dry? The last thing I want to think about when I either take notes or write is to wait for the completed page to dry before I turn the page.

This makes some of the more popular notebook brands more or less useless for me in a day to day context. Both as a lefty, and as a person who don’t enjoy to wait 30 seconds for a page to dry. It should be dry within a few seconds, I can stretch as long as five.

I’m going to do a proper test of some of the more popular stationary geek notebooks as soon as I have the time. My goal there is to look at how useful they are. Rhodia make great notebooks, and they are especially useful for testing inks. But they are not usable for me because it takes way too long to dry, even with a non fountain pen.

'The Finer Point

The Finer Point:

How I use my notebooks is something I think about a lot. In July 2015 I wrote a post on my notebook set-up exploring what notebooks I used and more importantly how I used them. However since July quite a bit has changed therefore I wanted to post a February 2016 update running through my notebook usage.

I love reading about how people use their notebooks, this post both gave me some ideas about how to use my notebooks, and also some changes to my monthly load out post.



Until Christmas of last year I never had a bag that I really liked. That all changed when I read a review of the Tom Bihn Co-Pilot by Jon Bemis on the Pen Addict blog. My particular need is to be able to carry my writing supplies to and from work so that I can journal and or write letters during my lunch break.

Fantastic post. It also gave me some ideas on what I could do with my monthly load out post.


Thomas R. Hall:

The word geek has traditionally had more of a negative connotation, but has been used more recently to mean someone who is passionate about a subject. Indeed, I can definitely say that I “geek out” about fountain pens and stationery. I “geek out” about mechanical keyboards too. But there are a wide array of topics that I also geek out about. To me, it’s about caring about something deeply. I want to ensure that when I get something, it’s the best product that I can get that meets my needs.

Fantastic post. The funny thing about being a geek is that almost everyone are geeks about at least a few things. Being a geek is to care much more about a certain thing than most people do. And the interesting thing about being a geek is that the combination of areas where you are a geek is very personal.

'The Pencilcase Blog


With the M (by Marc Newson), Montblanc brought a radically different product to the fountain pen market. Compared to the ever-so popular Meisterstück 146, with its conservative looks, the M appears to come straight from the future, which is kind of what Montblanc aimed at…

I’m not a fan of Montblanc for a number of reasons. The three most important ones are: they refuse to sell online; their aesthetics is a little bit too conservative or a little bit too “grandpa” for my personal taste; their prices are beyond stupid.

The M is one of the few, if not the only Montblanc pen I have ever considered. It looks fantastic. There are many pens that look better. But it has something unique to it that made me put it on the list. I also hope that this might be the first step for Montblanc to join the 21st century.

'Seaweed Kisses

Seaweed Kisses:

The Journal Diaries is a blog segment where we get a sneak peek into the journals, notebooks, organizers, and diaries from creative souls all over the world. My special guest today is Kim based in California, USA.

That’s one good looking bullet journal. And Bullet journal is a fantastic system for anyone that wants a task management system for pen and paper with a lot of structure. I personally prefer something much simpler.

'The Pen Haul

The Pen Haul:

I want to start this review out right, with my honest opinion of how I like this ink. I hate it. Now let me tell you why I hate it and why you probably don’t need this ink in your collection. I luckily only picked up a pack of cartridges to try out and avoided getting a bottle that would take up unnecessary space on my desk.

That got to be the most useless ink I have ever seen.


I was very skeptical about this pen, for a very long time, and I still don’t like the cap or the top of the pen from a aesthetic point of view, but the cap is a very functional one.

This pen is also the first stub nib I have tried, and I am intrigued. The verdict thus far is that I like it for certain things, for example for writing down tasks and for when I want to make sure that what I write look good. And I know from this that I probably would love a soft and flexible gold stub nib.

I think this pen is fantastic. It feels much more solid and durable than my 580AL, and the price makes it a no brainer. I will without doubt get at least one more of them(with a different nib). You get so much bang for your buck. It is a excellent beginner pen. What I mean by beginner pen isn’t necessarily the first pen, but the pen you get when you aren’t afraid of buying a whole bottle of ink.

The thing I started to think when I first got it, and that have been stuck in my mind every single time I have been using it since is that I would rather get three ECO’s than a 580.

It is comfortable to write with, it holds enough ink and you have a lot of nib options. Which is everything I don’t like about the Pilot Metropolitan and the Lamy Safari.

If you ask me if you should order one, the answer is yes for everyone. As I touched on above, the exception might be those of you that haven’t started buying ink in bottles yet. I wouldn’t go for it as my first fountain pen, but it is a excellent second one. And it is the perfect pen to get started on piston fillers on ink on bottle.

I think everyone should get into bottled ink as fast as possible. It is much better than what you find in cartridges. First of all you can probably buy the most expensive ink available and still get more ink for your money than what you get from cartridges. The money thing was a key factor for me. But the best thing is that you have to many more options.



We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Having learned from the error of our own ways and from the vast amount of feedback and experiences we hear from customers, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest mistakes we see made with fountain pens. Hopefully, now that you know them, you can avoid the disastrous results…

A great list, I don’t agree that 7, is a mistake, I don’t. I guess it’s a matter of if you think a pen should look like it did out of the box, or not.

'Pens! Paper! Pencils!

Pens! Paper! Pencils!:

I was really very pleasantly surprised by the Whitelines pocket notebook. The cover is strong, the design is tasteful and the paper is great.

I love Whitelines notebooks, I used to use them a lot during my first year at the University. They are utilitarian, well designed and have pretty good paper. Their design is fantastic, but that doesn’t mean it is the most beautiful notebook in the world. But it means that they have a very functional design. The thing I loved about them is that lines and grids are designed in a way where it is very easy to ignore them, and follow them when you need to.

Goulet Review of the Lamy Charged Green ink.

Goulet Pens:

It’s ink review time! Madigan here, reviewing the newest ink in the Lamy line up, Lamy Charged Green. Sarah used it in Monday Matchup this week, paired with the Lamy Charged Green Al-Star. I’m a little bit in love with the pen and was hoping that the ink would be like last year’s CopperOrange, which I loved so much, I bought a bottle! I was hoping for a light green with some dark green shading.

Unfortunately, this ink was closer to the NeonLime ink that went with last year’s NeonLime Safari. No, it isn’t quite as neon, but it is such a light hue! Read on to hear about my experience.

Interesting colour, but the thing that always makes me not adding or straight out removing Lamy inks from my shopping list is the fact that their dry time isn’t good enough. They have some inks that I think look fantastic, and some that are just “meh”. And they never manage to get it right. I don’t mind a longer dry time, even though 30 seconds is beyond ridiculous, if the colour is fantastic. But the dry time should and must be almost none if the colour is in the “meh” category.

Pen Addict Review of the Pilot Stargazer.

Susan Pigott:

The Stargazer is an impressive little pen. It is well made and has more decorative features than some more expensive pens. It would make an excellent pocket pen and/or small notebook pen. The cap snaps on securely, and the pen is small and substantial enough to be an EDC.

Interesting pen, I have gotten an interest for Pilot pens recently, not anything beyond the “window shopping”-stage yet. I like how it looks(I would have gone for the black model though) but the thing that makes it a non starter for me is the converter. The ink capacity is not even close to be good enough for me.

There are two important factors that plays a role when I decide if a pen is something I am going to consider buying or not. It is how it looks, and it is the utilitarian aspect. how comfortable is it to use it & how much ink does it hold? I’m not going to buy a pen for $150, when it holds the same amount of ink as a Metropolitan, when I could get a Lamy 2000 for the same amount of money.



Why, given this is one of more boring Studios? Well it was my first Lamy, it has a plastic grip section rather than shiny metal (making it lighter and less slippery), and at a pinch the brushed finish can be used as a nail file.

Nice. This pen have been on my list for a while now, and I guess I have to wait until I either find a used one with a plastic grip, or until they start making them again.


I got this lovely green ink with my last order from JetPens. One of my goals for 2016 is to try out more different inks, especially as many as I can of the Iroshizuku inks. I have used black inks for as long as I can remember. The reason I love black inks is that I can use them for everything, and I personally think that black in general look much better than the “bic-blue”. This doesn’t mean that I hate all blue inks, but I’m not a fan of the lighter ones.

The two most important factors for me when I try a new ink is how it is to write with it & the dry time. Both of the Iroshizuku inks I have tried are excellent at both. It always flows wonderfully, and the dry time is short. What I mean by that is that the time it takes the ink to dry is short enough so that I never have to think about it. It is more or less the same as the black Iroshizuku, but slower than the Noodlers Baranacke.

I love this green colour. It doesn’t have the properties I don’t like about many light greens where it just looks too light and is hard to read. That means that it looks very good if you write with a finer nib. And it doesn’t have what I don’t like about many darker greens either, where it is just this very dark thing. This means that it looks slightly different with finer and broader nibs, and you get slight variations when you write with a stub nib. This is probably old news for most people, but I hadn’t experienced it much myself, because black is black.

It is fantastic ink, and I also look forward to trying out a few more Iroshizuku inks. I have another Iroshizuku bottle waiting for me. And I’ll probably order a few more the next time I buy something. Black will probably continue to be my primary colour, but I really enjoy to have a few pens with something different.

The thing I have learned to enjoy about the Iroshizuku inks is that they are very consistent; based on both my own experience and reviews. That means that how it feels to use them, and the dry time is more or less the same. And that is a fantastic selling point by itself, as long as it is consistently good.

Why writing down tasks from your task management app can be a productivity booster.

This started out as a tweet, when I was listening to the latest episode of the Pen Addict Podcast, but I didn’t find a way to write it short enough. One of the biggest productivity boosts I every experienced when I used a task management solution like OmniFocus or Todoist was when I started to write down what I planned to do that day in a notebook. I know it sounds counter productive and weird. But hear me out.

The way I used to do it was that I opened a double page in a Field Notes notebook, and wrote the name of the day, and then went over what I had in OmniFocus and first wrote down everything that was due on the left side, and what I hoped to do on the right page. Then I closed the application, and it would stay like that until I had completed everything.

This eventually drove me down a path that led to me going 100% paper on everything that is related to calendars and task management, but it doesn’t have to. You can read more about that here.

This is what you get if you give this trick a try:

  • Planning. You actually sit down and plan everything you are going to do, and you actually think about what is important and what you reasonable can expect to accomplish.
  • Focus. It is much easier to look down on a notebook while working than switching to your app of choice. There might be something poping up and distracting you, or you might get lost in all the other tasks that you have there. When you look in your notebook, you only see the double page, and what you put there.
  • Efficiency. It is so easy to be efficient at what ever you do, when you know exactly what you should be doing. And my personal opinion is that the only way to get there in a consistent way is by doing some simple planning and focus.

Then, at the end of the day, I used to go over what I completed and didn’t and cross out in my notebook what I didn’t get to, and marked what got done as completed in my app of choice. This method gives you a lot in terms of planning, focus and efficiency, but you also learn a lot about yourself, and most important: how much can I expect to get done in any given day.

Load out February 2016.

These load out posts have become one of my favourite things I write each month. I find the process of looking at everything I do very rewarding, instead of just noticing the minor changes that I actually pay attention to every month. I think it is a great way to identify what I do, how I do it and how to improve it.

The biggest change during the last month is that I have added a TWSBI Eco with a Stub nib to my daily carry. I have been using one of my newest inks in it: Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku. This is the first ink I have that isn’t black.

I also did something that have been in the back of my head for a while. It all started when I found a box of Pilot Cartridges that I had forgotten about. The thing I have started doing is to just use them up, and to use up my bottle of Lamy Black Ink, before I start using any other black inks.

This is the method I have been using to avoid getting a huge notebooks collection. I realised that I’m not a fan of the Pilot Ink or the Lamy Ink, but there is no good reason not to use them, and I will never do so unless I just force myself to do it.

Because, if I don’t take the active choice to use up that before I use anything else, then I’ll just keep using the stuff I prefer, until its so old I can’t use it. There is nothing wrong with the cartridges or the Lamy Ink, I just prefer my other inks.

The plan now, for both my TWSBI’s is to ink them up with the Lamy ink as soon as they are dry.

This is my current pen situation:

  • Pilot Metropolitan: Inked up with Pilot Cartridges
  • Lamy 2000: Inked up with Black Lamy Ink.
  • TWSBI 580AL: Inked up with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku.
  • TWSBI Eco: Inked up with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku.

And the notebooks situation:
– I finally completed my A4 notebook that I have been using since September. So I moved that portion of my writing and note taking over to my Midori Travelers Notebook.
– Midori Travelers Notebook: I use it for all my long form writing, and I have started to do some sketch noting as well.
– Hobonichi Planner: same as always: stuff that are due and appointments.
– Field Notes is as always the place I put all my tasks. But I only have 4 left, and I have not ordered any new ones. This means that a major change in this aspect of my day to day life is very close. I’m not going to say what, but I have planned to try something new in this area since in December.